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Bloomberg Business polled three "typography wonks" to find out which fonts get you an immediate leg up in the job-search game, and which ones should be banished to the depths of Microsoft Word.

Julie Mazziotta
April 29, 2015

It doesn’t matter if you’re a 20-something post-grad or a 40-year-old looking for a career change: job hunting is stressful. And one of the first things hiring managers see—your resume—can say a whole lot without actually saying anything, according to three graphic designers.

Bloomberg Business polled three "typography wonks" to find out which fonts get you an immediate leg up in the job-search game, and which ones should be banished to the depths of Microsoft Word. Keep in mind, though, that these design guys aren’t working in Human Resources—but hey, anything that helps make you look more professional can’t hurt.

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The first one might be tough to take: good ol' Times New Roman. This standby isn’t the best font anymore, although the designers are in disagreement. “I don’t have any problem with Times New Roman,” said Martina Flor, a letterer and designer from Berlin, Germany. Brian Hoff, creative director of Brian Hoff Design, came down hard on the lettering: “It’s telegraphing that you didn’t put any thought into the typeface that you selected,” he said. “It’s like putting on sweatpants.”

Instead, you might want to opt for their all-around professional favorite, Helvetica. “Helvetica is no-fuss, it doesn’t really lean in one direction or another,” Hoff said. “It feels professional, lighthearted, honest.”

Matt Luckhurst, creative director at Collins, a brand consultancy in San Francisco, echoed Hoff’s praise. “If it’s me, [I’m using] Helvetica,” Luckhurst said. “Helvetica is beautiful. There is only one Helvetica.”

Another eye-catching favorite? Garamond, especially if you’ve got a miles-long list of experience. “Garamond is legible and easy for the eye to follow,” said Luckhurst, making it easier to fit all your accolades on a single page.

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And if you’re in a more creative, upscale field like fashion, consider Didot, but be wary: “It’s very tall, it’s a little fancy, [and] it’s a little feminine,” Luckhurst said. “It’s like wearing the black dress to the ball. Do you wear a tuxedo to your job interview?”

But you can probably guess their #1, don’t-even-think-about-it font: the elementary-school favorite Comic Sans. You shouldn’t even look at it, Hoff says, “unless you are applying to clown college.” Enough said.

In the interest of thorough reporting, Bloomberg Business asked about using emojis on your CV…which we’re hoping was a joke. “I think it’s a great idea. Put a lot of emojis on the bottom. Some chicken wings. They will love it,” Luckhurst said.

They should've asked the designers for a sarcasm font while they were at it.

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